The "Napkin" Brand Strategy

Simplicity is at the core of everything we do here at Lam Sam Creative. So when it came to communicating the value of brand strategy to prospects, I wanted to find a new way to do this that was simple and easy to remember. So simple in fact, that you could draw it on the back of a napkin.

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The “Napkin” Brand Strategy (NBS) is based around the basic concept that brands are not built, but grown. They require patience and nurturing, and the only brands that survive and find success are those that are in it for the long haul. A flower is a beautiful symbol of this concept.

Let’s start at the beginning.

The Roots: Your “Why”

The root system is arguably the most important part of the NBS. It is the foundation upon which the rest of the plant will grow. Its success depends entirely on the soil it’s been planted in and the nutrients it receives. Within the root system of our NBS is your “Why”.

“Finding Your Why” is an idea that was brought to life by Simon Sinek. His TED talk on the concept is one of the most watched TED talks of all time.

In a nutshell, your “Why” is your reason for existing. Your core motivation for doing what you do and how you do it. If you’d like to dive deeper into this topic, read my other blog post called Finding Your “Why”: The Foundation of Your Brand.

Your “Why” matters because when you finally articulate it, you realise it is who you are naturally. It’s not a fabricated or tainted version of yourself. Being clear on this from the beginning helps to guide the rest of your decisions you’ll be making throughout this “Napkin” Brand Strategy.

The relevancy of finding your “Why” cannot be overstated enough. We are in a time where we are suffering from information overload. We see all of our friends and their lives all day every day. We are bombarded with advertising at every moment. In the apps we use, social media, on TV, on the drive to work. We’ve become numb to the things around us. So when a brand can reach out and speak to our hearts, we stop and we listen. The only way you can do that is by finding your “Why”


Phase 1: Brand Positioning

With our roots firmly planted in the ground, we can look at the next part of the NBS that will become the second foundational layer that will support the growth of our plant. This is where brand positioning is introduced. But what is it?

Brand positioning is simply the space we hold in the minds of the customer.

Where finding your “Why” was all about you, brand positioning is all about your customers and your competitors. We need to be able to clearly identify our customer problems, needs and desires. We also need to know how those problems are currently being solved by our competitors. Without knowing these things, we couldn’t possibly know where to position ourselves in the mind of our customers.

Great positioning will ensure you stay at the forefront of your customers mind. It is the compass to which all your future branding and marketing efforts will be guided by.

Phase 2: Brand Consistency

Also known as Brand Governance but I hate that term so I’m not going to use it.

Brand consistency is simply the reinforcement of your brand positioning in every area of the business. Whether it be advertising, blog posts, staff uniforms, how the receptionist answers the phone or how you treat your staff, it all must align with your brand’s position and ultimately, your “Why”.

Without structure and guidelines to manage your brand, you run the risk of causing confusion within the minds of your customers and when this happens, you’ve lost. Clear brands are successful brands. The only way to achieve clarity is through the consistent reinforcement of your brand positioning.

Phase 3: Your Brand

You can’t fake a healthy plant. Just like you can judge a tree by its fruit, so to can you judge a brand by its fruit. The people in the marketplace are privy to the sly tactics of marketers and can spot a shallow brand from a mile away. On the flip side of the coin, they can also spot a genuine brand. One that has meaning, purpose and relevance to their lives.

When this “Napkin” Brand Strategy is executed correctly, you have the opportunity to be that genuine brand. The fruits of this are loyalty, trust, authority, leadership and clarity. Things that must be earned and cannot be bought.

This is what branding is truly all about. Obviously it’s a lot bigger than just a logo. Your logo is simply a visual representation of something much bigger. It falls within the Seedling stage, helping to reinforce your position.

A weak brand can hurt your business and cost you thousands if not millions in the long run. A solid brand strategy focuses your efforts with research, not assumptions, and will only reap positive and lucrative results for you.

Take a step back and access your brand using the “Napkin” Brand Strategy and see if there are areas that can be improved upon.

If you would like to talk more about your brand, book a 1 hour Brand Diagnosis session with us today. We can meet face-to-face or via video call.